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Attentional bias and emotional reactivity as predictors and moderators of behavioral treatment for social phobia.

  • Author(s): Niles, Andrea N;
  • Mesri, Bita;
  • Burklund, Lisa J;
  • Lieberman, Matthew D;
  • Craske, Michelle G
  • et al.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a well-established treatment for anxiety disorders, and evidence is accruing for the effectiveness of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Little is known about factors that relate to treatment outcome overall (predictors), or who will thrive in each treatment (moderators). The goal of the current project was to test attentional bias and negative emotional reactivity as moderators and predictors of treatment outcome in a randomized controlled trial comparing CBT and ACT for social phobia. Forty-six patients received 12 sessions of CBT or ACT and were assessed for self-reported and clinician-rated symptoms at baseline, post treatment, 6, and 12 months. Attentional bias significantly moderated the relationship between treatment group and outcome with patients slow to disengage from threatening stimuli showing greater clinician-rated symptom reduction in CBT than in ACT. Negative emotional reactivity, but not positive emotional reactivity, was a significant overall predictor with patients high in negative emotional reactivity showing the greatest self-reported symptom reduction.

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